Posthuman performativity, gender and ‘school bullying’:exploring the material-discursive intra-actions of skirts, hair, sluts, and poofs

Ringrose, Jessica and Rawlings, Victoria (2015) Posthuman performativity, gender and ‘school bullying’:exploring the material-discursive intra-actions of skirts, hair, sluts, and poofs. Confero: Essays on Education, Philosophy and Politics, 3 (2). pp. 1-37. ISSN 2001-4562

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Abstract

In this article we take off from critiques of psychological and school bullying typologies as creating problematic binary categories of bully and victim and neglecting socio-cultural aspects of gender and sexuality. We review bullying research informed by Judith Butler’s theories of discursive performativity, which help us to understand how subjectification works through performative repetitions of heterosexual gender norms. We then build on these insights drawing on the feminist new materialist approach of Karen Barad’s posthuman performativity, which we argue enlarges our scope of inquiry in profound ways. Barad’s theories suggest we move from psychological models of the inter- personal, and from Butlerian notions of discursive subjectification, to ideas of discursive-material intra-action to consider the more-than-human relationalities of bullying. Throughout the article, we demonstrate the approach using examples from qualitative research with teens in the UK and Australia, exploring non-human agentic matter such as space, objects and time as shaping the constitution of gender and sexual bullying events. Specifically we examine the discursive-material agential intra-actions of skirts and hair through which ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ and ‘slut’ and ‘gay’ materialise in school spacetimematterings. In our conclusion we briefly suggest how the new materialism helps to shift the frame of attention and responses informing gendered intra-actions in schools.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Confero: Essays on Education, Philosophy and Politics
Subjects:
ID Code:
75445
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
15 Apr 2016 10:24
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
12 Jul 2020 05:12